2020 vice-champion Théo Pourchaire has been awarded his first shot in Formula 2 machinery by BWT HWA RACELAB, with the 17-year-old set to make his debut in the second tier in the final two rounds of the F2 season at Sakhir.
Aged just 17-years-old, Pourchaire was a surprise title contender in his rookie season of F3, winning twice in the opening three rounds, becoming the Championship’s youngest ever victor.
The Sauber junior’s first win may have been history making, but it was the second which was more impressive. Gaining the lead in the opening laps, after a collision between polesitter Alex Smolyar and Logan Sargeant, Pourchaire went on to dominate. He held off Oscar Piastri for more than 20 laps, to cross the line with a comfortable margin of 11.9s.
“I had started this year with the objective to learn as much as possible from my rookie F3 season and it turned out that I was able to adapt very quickly. Together with ART, we managed to fight for the title until the very last race of the season.
“At first, I was a bit disappointed to be missing out on the Championship by only three points, but then I realised what we had accomplished, and I am proud to have finished second overall.”
After initially struggling with consistency, Pourchaire emerged as one of the most reliable drivers on the grid, taking five podiums in his final three rounds, hauling himself into title contention. The Frenchman only missed out on the title by three points, as Piastri clinched it in the season finale at Mugello.
The Frenchman will now get the opportunity to taste the more powerful F2 machinery with historic German racing outfit HWA, as he bids to earn a full-time drive in the top tier of junior motorsport in 2021.
The experience of racing in F2 this season could prove invaluable for the Frenchman if he earns a drive in 2021, as proven by current F2 title contender Christian Lundgaard, who completed the final round of the 2019 season in Abu Dhabi, before making the move full time this year.
“Since the conclusion of the season, I have been working on the next step, which is F2. I am very grateful to BWT HWA RACELAB, my sponsors and the Sauber Academy for giving me the opportunity to race in the final two rounds of the season in Bahrain.
“I know this will help me gain invaluable experience. I will now focus 100% on this new challenge. I cannot wait!”
Pourchaire – who will become the youngest driver on the grid - replaces fellow 2020 F3 race winner Jake Hughes at the German outfit, where he will have the opportunity to learn from experienced F2 racer Artem Markelov.
"We are pleased to allow such a highly-talented young driver to take his first steps in Formula 2," said HWA Team Principal Thomas Strick. “Théo's talent is undisputed. The success he has enjoyed in his burgeoning career speaks for itself.
“We are excited about his debut in Bahrain. In recent years, he has proved several times that he can quickly find his feet in a new series."